If you are 18 or younger, your rights are written in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a document agreed upon by all countries in the world, except the U.S.
These rights fit into four basic groups:
- Be healthy. These rights include the right to medical and dental care, right to recreation, the right to go to school, the right to be fed, clothed and cared for.
- Be safe. These rights include the right to be protected from being hit or embarrassed as a punishment, the right to privacy, the right to be protected from being teased or bullied and the right to be protected from racism, sexism and other types of discrimination.
- Be yourself. These rights include the right to take part in social and recreational activities, in your religion and your culture, and the right to speak your own language.
- Be heard. These rights include the right to an advocate or an interpreter, and to a lawyer in certain situations, your right to learn important information like your rights, and to be informed about rules and decisions so you understand what’s going on before you speak up.
In B.C., the Child, Family and Community Service Act says that parents and guardians are responsible for making sure that any child in their care:
- is safe
- has enough food to eat each day
- has clothing, shelter, and health care
- isn’t abandoned or neglected
- is protected from physical abuse and emotional harm, and
- isn’t sexually abused or exploited.